Norton's First Night Takes Shape
Town kick's off 300th birthday celebration with New Year's event.
"Happy New Year," said First Night committee chairman Brian Coughlin to about 45 volunteers at the monthly table top meeting Oct. 25. "Only 69 days until New Year's Eve."
Norton turns 300 years old June 11, 2011 but the party is starting early with a First Night celebration Dec. 31. Preparation for the big night began about 18 months ago with the formation of the committee, Coughlin said.
First Night will open to the public 6 p.m. Dec. 31 and end after midnight Jan. 1, 2011, with a fireworks display, sponsored by North Easton Savings Bank who donated $10,000 to the event.
Roche Brothers, 175 Mansfield Ave., donated $5,000 to the event. This donation will help the committee buy a countdown clock that they had discussed at a previous meeting. The clock was set up at the two polling stations by Election Day on Nov. 2 and will travel to different events and locations around town until New Year's Eve.
In total the event is estimated to cost about $25,000, Coughlin said.
Some discussion arose about if the high school students' dance should be held at Norton High School or at the Henri A. Yelle Elementary School, where it is currently scheduled to take place. An adult dance has been scheduled to take place at the high school and thousands of invitations have already been sent out.
Many committee members said it wouldn't be difficult to change the dance locations. A decision will be made at the next table top meeting Nov. 15 7 p.m. at Norton Public Library.
"Norton's Got Talent," is scheduled at the high school auditorium from 6:30 to 11 p.m. and is sponsored by Dean College.
Three children's programs, organized by the Norton Public Library director Elaine Jackson, include a puppet show called "St. George and the Dragon," a storyteller and a magic show. They will take place at Yelle Elementary starting at 6 p.m.
Also at Yelle Elementary will be a pirate ship wielding two working cannons and sword fighting pirates, Coughlin said. The pirate group is known as "Swords, Songs, and More."
Committee member Darlene Gavin is lining up vendors for the food court. At the Oct. 25 meeting, she said there are about four merchants signed up to participate so far.
Committee member Ray Cord is coordinating parking for the 10,000 people expected to attend First Night.
The committee is working with Wheaton College, who has donated about 750 parking spaces, according to David Bamford, assistant director of public safety at Wheaton College.
A shuttle system will take people from the college parking lots to the celebration. Four Norton Public School buses and 10 Wheaton College GATRA buses have been donated to help bus people to and from the event.
"A main concern will be the mass exodus after (midnight)," Cord said.
For more information, visit the Norton 30oth Birthday page.